US couple plead guilty to smuggling nanny into U.S., paying her less than $3,000 over 13 years

Richard and Martha Smalanskas have pleaded guilty to charges that they paid their immigrant nanny less than $3,000 over the course of 13 years and brought her into the country illegally. The federal court accepted the Smalanskas’ plea, who had their nanny cook, clean, care for their children and shovel snow for them for less than $35 some months.

Restitution offered to victim

According to court documents, the Smalanskas will be on probation for a year and will pay the victim $150,000 in restitution. There was also a charge for harboring an illegal immigrant brought up by prosecutors that was dropped. The couple pleaded guilty for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. The attorneys for the victims say they were looking for restitution for the victim rather than jail time for the couple since she would be able to “benefit from the money.”

Victim had travel documents taken away

The nanny was hired by the Smalanskas when she was 16 when they still lived in Bolivia. She was 16 at the time and the couple then brought her to the U.S. and helped her get false documentation making it look like she was related to them. However, once they all came to the U.S., they took away her travel documents and forced her to work long hours throughout the week. “From 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. six days a week, although she was allowed to leave early some Saturdays. She had Sundays off.”

Although she was promised to be paid $100 a month, she sometimes either did not receive payment or received less than half of what was promised. Authorities estimate the couple owes the victim $301,000 rather than the $2,500 they offered her. Although she was removed from the home in May for unknown reason, she has finally received justice for the work she has been doing for the past 13 years.

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